FC Augsburg come up against 1. FC Köln on the first game back after the international break on Saturday 9th September (15:30 CEST). Alfred Finnbogason can remember the last meeting between the two sides very clearly. The Icelandic international’s side ran out 2-1 victors at home. “That was our first all-or-nothing game last season – a very exhausting game. The fact that we held on with nine men was really important and it gives us a lot of confidence going into this game,” the striker reflects.
The opponents: 1. FC Köln
FCA head coach Manuel Baum is anticipating a tough game against Köln and they are a side who are “operating well together and who have strengthened well over the summer break.” Baum isn’t using the Billy Goats’ poor start as an indicator of their quality: “Their first two games don’t mean anything to us. It means just as little as the fact that Köln are away at Arsenal next week. At Köln, no-one will be thinking about the Arsenal game. They will be 100 percent focused on our game.” Finnbogason also doesn’t see Köln’s upcoming Europa League game as advantageous for FCA: “It would be an advantage perhaps if we came up against Köln a few days after they had played in the Europa League but that isn’t the case.”
Manuel Baum warns particularly of Köln striker Jhon Cordoba “who we had a lot of trouble with last season when he was at Mainz.” Last season, Cordoba scored a goal, set up one and won a penalty against FCA. “Obviously, you can’t just get a direct replacement for a player like Anthony Modeste, but Cordoba is a similar type of striker and he fits perfectly into the way Köln play.” Baum has warned his players and they are well-informed of his strengths. But that didn’t stop Alfred Finnbogason from joking that “we’ve got the better Cordova.”
Successful international break for the FCA players
Sergio Cordova returned to Augsburg on Thursday afternoon after he started two games for the Venezuelan national side. With Cordova up front, the South Americans earned a point against both Colombia and Argentina. In the 1-1 draw with Argentina, he scored the Venezuelan goal to put them into the lead. Other FCA players also represented their nations, for example Ja-Cheol Koo, who booked his ticket for the 2018 World Cup with South Korea. For Manuel Baum, it is a “great experience for the players and one which makes the club very proud”. Despite this, Baum has “mixed feelings” over players going off for international matches and especially for the World Cup because “it is obviously a big burden to deal with.”
In terms of personnel, Manuel Baum will “most likely” have to do without Raphael Framberger. “Daniel Opare had a great pre-season and so I’m not worried about putting him in the side.” Baum will have to do without Alfred Finnbogason (flu), Ja-Cheol Koo (heel) and Caiuby (muscle strain) for the visit of Köln. Whether the late-returning Sergio Cordova can play also remains to be seen. “The final training session today will show us what condition he is in.”